Car accidents are bad enough. Now, drivers have another problem to deal with when a crash happens. Supply chain issues are making it difficult to find car parts. Often repair jobs are taking several months, if not longer, to complete.
Eddie Zipperstein owns Richard’s Body Shop in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood.
“I don’t see it easing anytime soon,” he said. “We need one part and the car just sits.”
That’s what happened to Stacy Stone after her Honda minivan was damaged in an accident in early December. Originally, her auto body shop in suburban Countryside said the vehicle would be fixed in three weeks. But weeks turned into months and there’s still no end in sight.
“I am very afraid that there will be no resolution,” Stone said.
She said Geico, her insurance company, refuses to declare her minivan totaled, even though it’s unknown if the part she needs will ever become available.
“The insurance company could resolve this,” attorney Steve Pollack, an expert on insurance matters, said. “They could pay out as a total loss, take the vehicle and when the part comes in, resell it. They’d probably end up making money.”
A Geico spokesman declined to comment.
Pollack said there’s language in the state’s insurance code to protect consumers from “unreasonable” delays. But the measure, he said, is rarely enforced by the Illinois Department of Insurance.
A state spokeswoman did not immediately comment.
Stone knows she’s not the only one in this bind and hopes state regulators compel insurers to compromise with clients, so long as supply chain issues exist.
“In Illinois, there’s no protection,” she said. “It’s a horrible situation. I hope collectively people can figure out how to make this better.”